A new three-part BBC series titled Inside Dubai: Playground of the Rich delves into the expat lifestyle in the city, bringing into sharp focus the balance between modern capitalism and the celebration of luxury lifestyles, with the more formal and traditional Arabic culture.
Reviewing the series in UK newspaper The i, Ed Power writes: A Danish zillionaire explained that driving around in a Bentley would probably result in him getting beaten up in his home town. In Dubai, he was free to flaunt his fortune. Gaynor Scott, born to a working class Stoke-on-Trent family, enjoyed a breathtakingly pampered existence in an exclusive neighbourhood after marrying a multi-millionaire.
"A crueller series would have mocked her designer lifestyle – and her designer lifebuoys (one Hermès, one Chanel). Yet she came across as reasonably self-aware regarding her privileges, even as she prepared to take an £80,000 private flight back to the UK. “I don’t think I’m anything special,” she said. “I’m lucky," the Danish zillionaire adds.
If anything the programme simply highlights what has been commented on many times before - the contradiction between the extravagant lifestyles of some who embrace the opulence of some part of the city (and are happy to show their appreciation via Instagram, TikTok and all other social media options in-between) and the fact that this an Arab city, led by an absolute ruler.